Author Topic: HOPS IN THE KETTLE  (Read 1787 times)

Offline Lager

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HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« on: March 23, 2011, 02:12:10 PM »
This might be an old question but I can't seem to figure out how to find a particular topic.
There is always a lot of discussion about how to not transfer the hops from the boil kettle to the fermenter.
People use whirlpool, screens, filters and so on. What is wrong with just using a bag or a large enough SS tea ball to put you hops in. This would eliminate the large percentage of what we all are trying to keep out of the primary. Is there a drop in utilization, hop bitterness or aroma?

Offline denny

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 02:14:59 PM »
There is a bit of a decrease in utilization due to using a bag.  The commonly quoted figure is 10%, although I don't know if that's strictly accurate.  I use a bag for whole hops and haven't really found a downside.  I increase the amount I use by 10%.
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 02:26:28 PM »
It's a perfectly acceptable way to do it. I would tend to doubt the 10% # when using the large paint strainer bags suspended in the boil. I used to bag my hops. Now I use my killer "hop taco". 225 sq. in. of straining area. Just toss the hops in. Bam!
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 06:14:56 PM »
I think I have noticed a slight reduction in hop utilization since I went with the paint bags.... I like the idea of adding 10%....
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 07:44:34 PM »
I actually did a side-by-side brew on this because I like to use hop bags and I wanted to gauge their effects on taste.  Two identical brews, except one I boiled using hop bags (the little nylon 8" kind) the other tossing the hops directly in the kettle.  I used four hop additions, pellets, whole, relatively unpacked, and packed full.  I tried to run the gamut all at once.  Then a "panel" of sixteen tasters (well 15, I did it twice) for a double-blind triangle test consisting of 3 BJCP-certified judges, the head brewer from a local micorbrewery, a couple of the guys from the LHBS, assorted fellow homebrewers, and a couple others.  

Four out of the sixteen were able to correctly separate the two brews and identify the hop bag brew vs the all natural brew.  That's 1 out of 4 vs the 1 out of 6 you would expect just from luck alone, so my conclusion was that there is a difference, especially since 2 out of the 3 BJCP judges got it right (the head brewer did not).  I myself got it wrong twice, so I've decided to continue using the hop bags since I primarily brew for myself!  Interestingly, and entertainingly, most tasters insisted that the difference was "obvious", that is they did before they got the results that showed they were wrong.  Two of my friends faulted the test saying that the beers must be at different temperatures, blah blah.  They weren't!

Anyway, I use a giant hop bag for 10 gallon boils in my keggle, but still use the smaller hop bags when I brew smaller batches in my smaller kettle.  Makes life easy for me, though I really need to look into making a hop taco...

Anyone out there able to directly measure IBUs?  I'd love to repeat the test and get a real measurement.
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 07:48:33 PM »
Quote
I myself got it wrong twice, so I've decided to continue using the hop bags since I primarily brew for myself!

I heard that, I did.  ;D
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Offline denny

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 08:33:56 AM »
Anyone out there able to directly measure IBUs?  I'd love to repeat the test and get a real measurement.

Great test and thanks for the info.  I take it you didn't add 10% more hops to the bagged brews?  I can hook you up with the same lab that did IBU testing for my FWH experiment.  Shoot me a PM.
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2011, 05:10:34 PM »
Nope, hop amounts were the same in the boil with the bags and in the one without.

I love to do these little experiments, I was going to post in the "Why go all-grain" thread about the extract vs. partial mash side-by-side I did, but I'm not really sure that the comparison was apples-to-apples enough since I didn't use exactly the same 2-row that went into the extract.  Nevertheless, that experiment catapulted me into all grain because about half of my tasters, including myself, could tell a difference, generally described as "more complexity" in the partial mash brew.  Plus it turned out to be really freakin' easy (or at least a lot easier than I thought it would be).
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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 07:32:39 PM »
1st, welcome to the forum.

I've used hop bags with no apprciable effects.
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Offline euge

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 07:47:34 PM »
1st, welcome to the forum.

I've used hop bags with no apprciable effects.


Uh, what nothing?! lol.  ;D Anyway, I use them from time to time with my whole hops. Take a small hit in IBU's. Factor that in or compensate.
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Offline Lager

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 10:26:53 AM »
Thanks everyone for your input. I think I will go with the bag and add 10% since I only do 5g brews.
This Hop Taco...what is it and where can you buy one?

Offline Beer Monger

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 10:30:27 AM »
This is why I really don't like pellet hops - even when used in bags - they make their way out. 

I've always preferred using mostly (if not entirely) whole hops in my system.  It makes filtering them out (via a screen by my boil kettle spigot and/or using hop bags), pretty easy for me. 
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 10:53:12 AM »
Thanks everyone for your input. I think I will go with the bag and add 10% since I only do 5g brews.
This Hop Taco...what is it and where can you buy one?
It's a device used in the BK to strain hops and break material from the wort. I think there was a commercial version at one time, not sure. If you're handy, they're not difficult to fab. There are a couple different iterations on the web and other brewing boards. Google should get you there.  My first version, I "sewed" some fairly fine stainless screen onto a domed false bottom with thin copper wire. Worked very well for a few years, then started to come apart. Ver 2.0, I used a heavier SS screen and just crimped it shut around the FB. Works like a charm and is heavy duty! It should outlast me. I'll get ambitious soon, take some pics, and post 'em. I have brewed 10 g Pliny the Elder batches with what, 17 oz of hops in the boil, and no real issues other than wort absorbtion. Toss your hops in and go. I've always used an oz or two of whole hops to help with the straining.
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Offline colinhayes

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2011, 04:01:54 PM »
I agree with everyone else that there's a little bit of a difference.

but why not just plop a kitchen strainer over the funnel when filling your carboy?  You filter out a lot of break material that way, too.

Offline hokerer

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Re: HOPS IN THE KETTLE
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2011, 04:18:18 PM »
but why not just plop a kitchen strainer over the funnel when filling your carboy?  You filter out a lot of break material that way, too.

Have you actually tried that?  The one time I did the strainer got clogged after about the first gallon - never tried it again. 
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